The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the Centre must pay compensation to the family of those who succumbed to Covid19. The Court directed the National Disaster Management Authority to frame guidelines for recommending minimum ex-gratia assistance for the victims.
Last week, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that Rs 4 lakh compensation cannot be paid to all those who died due to Covid-19 as it would exhaust the disaster relief funds.
Accepting the government’s argument, the Supreme Court directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to create minimum standards for relief so that some amount of compensation can be paid.
“Ex gratia compensation will have financial implications. No state or country has unlimited financial resources. It is not appropriate for this court to direct payment of the particular amount of 4 lakh. Priority is to be fixed by the government,” the Supreme Court said.
The Court rejected the Government’s argument that Section 12 was not a mandatory provision. The Court noted that Section 12 uses the word ‘ ‘shall’ and hence concluded that the provision was mandatory’
The Supreme Court also directed the NDMA to issue guidelines for proper death certificates which specify the cause of death as Covid-19. Some guidelines will also be created to correct certificates that are already issued.